NEW YORK (AP) — The United States will try to qualify for next year’s Copa América without two of its top attacking players.
Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah, the Americans’ two starting wingers, will miss CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinals against Trinidad and Tobago because of hamstring injuries. They join captain Tyler Adams on the sideline.
Pulisic left AC Milan’s Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain in injury time Tuesday holding his left hamstring. Weah, a son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberia President George Weah, hasn’t played for Juventus since Oct. 28 because of his right hamstring.
“We see them on track to get back to play soon,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said Thursday. “But it’s too short of a deadline, so they won’t be involved.”
Adams, who has appeared in one match since March, had right hamstring surgery for the second time last month and is not expected to play until 2024.
The U.S. hosts Trinidad on Nov. 16 at Austin, Texas, in the first competitive match of Berhalter’s second term and plays the Soca Warriors in Port-of-Spain four days later — one day after the 34th anniversary of the victory there on Paul Caligiuri’s goal that put the U.S. in the World Cup for the first time in 40 years. The winner of the two-leg, total-goals series earns berths in the Nations League semifinals in March and the 16-nation field for next summer’s Copa América, the South American championship to be played in the U.S.
Twenty players are on the roster from among the 24 picked for last month’s exhibitions against Germany and Ghana. They are joined by backup goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, left back Antonee Robinson and midfielders Malik Tillman and Paxten Aaronson. Tillman originally was chosen last month but got hurt.
Aaronson, a 20-year-old with Eintracht Frankfurt who made his U.S. debut in January, joined 23-year-old brother Brenden on the roster, their first time together on the national team.
“A winger similar to Christian in the fact that he gets in the penalty box and he’s dangerous in front of goal,” Berhalter said. “He’s got a lot of things that show us he’s going to be an excellent player in the future, and now’s the time to give him an opportunity.”
After playing 45 minutes in each of the national team’s games last month as he returned from a broken leg, midfielder Gio Reyna could see more extensive use.
“What the next step looks like is yet to be determined, but we can certainly envision him being on the field and us being able to push his minutes,” Berhalter said.
Just one player is from Major League Soccer, defender Miles Robinson. Left back DeJuan Jones of New England was omitted.
Among goalkeepers, top choice Matt Turner was dropped from the starting lineup by Nottingham Forest for last Sunday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa in favor of Greece’s Odysseas Vlachodimos. Ethan Horvath is not on Forest’s active roster and hasn’t played in a first-team game this season.
“Ethan’s situation is temporary, and we hope in the winter things will be sorted out where he will start to get game time,” Berhalter said. “I had a conversation with Matt. I called him immediately, and this is part of playing in the best league in the world, right? I mean, this is all part of a player’s journey. There’s ups and downs. And for him, it’s about being mentally strong enough to endure this.”
Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest, England), Gaga Slonina (Eupen, Belgium), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest, England)
Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Glasgow Celtic, Scotland), Sergiño Dest (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo, Italy), Tim Ream (Fulham, England), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace, England), Antonee Robinson (Fulham, England), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Germany)
Midfielders: Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional, Brazil), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo, Spain), Lennard Maloney (Heidenheim, Germany), Weston McKennie (Juventus, Italy), Yunus Musah (AC Milan, Italy), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Forwards: Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin, Germany), Folarin Balogun (Monaco), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg, Germany), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Alex Zendejas (América, Mexico)
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer